There is the saying "walk a mile in their shoes." You all have walked many miles with us this past year. Through the 10,000 miles added to our car as we went through the NICU journey, to the many miles of specialists, therapy, open heart surgery, and various other appiointments. You also traveled with us through the miles that weren't logged as we were essentially home bound with Kaleb's compromised immune system and medical equipment. This first picture was taken August 31st last year as we headed out the door to Tulsa. I had simply taken the picture to show my mom that after five days of bed rest my swelling was down and I could finally wear shoes after weeks of nothing but flip flops that dug into my feet. Little did I know how symbolic this picture was. It represented the starting line of our journey.
Later that day my feet would walk into the room at the fetal maternal specialist's office to have a 45 minute ultrasound that would show that the blood flow had indeed, sometime between Wednesday afternoon to Monday afternoon, gone from absent to reverse blood flow which now put us on the clock and Kaleb had an unknown amount of time. After being hooked up to a non stress test Dr. Jones came to tell us we could go home back a bag and report to the hospital first thing in the morning. Before he could leave the room we all listened as Kaleb's clear, steady heart beat dropped. We all turned and watched the reading. No one said a word and we didn't have to be told that this changed the plan. As soon as it picked back up with its steady pace we were told labor and delivery would be expecting us and TJ was not to leave to go get our hospital bags as with him already being in distress he might have to be delivered anytime.
My feet then found themselves walking the hallways of the south entrance to labor and delivery. My feet wanted to slow as it hit me that I no matter what happened I would not be leaving here pregnant. I lovingly put a hand on my stomach as I walked and tried to commit that moment of him still inside me to memory as I didn't know how much longer he would stay that way.
We were sent to the waiting area to wait as they finished readying a room. Finally after 35 minutes and my feet tapping impatiently I told TJ I was about to lose my mind having no way of knowing how Kaleb was doing. The memory of listening and seeing evidence of his heart rate plummeting kept replaying in my mind. He went to inquire on the progress and was told they were just about ready and sure enough before he could sit back down nurse Amy came to get us.
Now a year later here I am leaving the house to head to Tulsa. This time to take Kaleb to therapy and celebrate his first birthday with the NICU staff. I will walk the hallways of the hospital that now are very familiar to me. I will see people who a year ago I had never met but have the upmost respect for. The other picture is today. I may look the same, I am even wearing the same shoes, but I am different.
I am reminded of the poem Footprints in the Sand. Where there were one set instead of two it wasn't that He left us to go through it alone, it was where He had carried us through. If I were to look back at the past year, I would see one set where He carried us and led us through but also in my view there would also be many other sets of footprints right beside and right behind us. Those are the footprints of all of you. Never have I been so sure of God's love and grace as I have been this year. I am also so very thankful for the love and support along the way from the many people who have willingly shared in this journey with us. Thank you.